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Out Of Luck
Peril By: Eric Hitchmo 31/03/2012
Torquay United H
30/03/2012   (Click date for match details)
League 2011-2012
L  0- 1
Attendance: 2263  (506 Away)
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Sometimes in football you don't get what you deserve, and last night's defeat to Torquay was most certainly one of those. It summed up the notion that when you're at the bottom, nothing goes your way, and when you're at the top, everything runs nicely.

Torquay were by no means dreadful. There were elements of their play that demonstrated that they were a good side, albeit those elements were few and far between as they struggled to show how on earth they were in second place in League Two. In the first half, we battered them with a fine performance. Though we still employed the long ball system, we were well on top throughout the first period and all in the ground were left scratching their heads as to how we were not in front. Indeed, we were presented with a clear opportunity when Izale McLeod was bought down in the box, but he proceeded to strike the ball against the post and in doing so missed his 5th penalty in less than 12 months.

It was not as if that was the only chance. Torquay were not coping with us very well, and offered little going forward. Michael Hector was utterly imperious at the back and again showed what a future he has in the game. He was ably assisted by Jack Saville in the absence of the injured Paul Downing and the omitted Darren Dennehy. Clovis Kamdjo was also left out, which meant we had no defenders on the bench, something which would prove quite important later on. The full backs Hajrovic and Mustoe were playing well too which meant that Dean Brill had become a mere spectator. It is rare that I have been able to speak like this of a Barnet performance in recent weeks and months.

Despite our dominance, we were unable to take our chances, and somehow you just knew that we would be punished. It's just the Barnet way. Three minutes into the second half and just that happened. Hajrovic took a tumble when readying himself to clear the ball which allowed the Torquay striker to bear down on goal. An expert finish over the head of Brill left us 1-0 down out of absolutely nothing. You can't legislate for things like that and as tempting as it was to lay the blame on our illustrious, magical leader, even I couldn't bring myself to do it. It was an enormous slice of bad luck, and it was indicative of a team in peril. What we could legislate for however was the fact we didn't have a defender on the bench, which meant that on came the comical Ali N'Diaye to fill in at right back as Hajrovic was stretchered off. It was puzzling when you consider that the aforementioned pair of Kamdjo and Dennehy were sat in the stand.

And so Torquay's outstanding (though hardly vociferous) following revelled in our misery for a moment. They bought a lot of fans with them, and that was commendable. The second half was not a carbon copy of the first, with the visitors having learned to deal with our repetitive long ball system. Chances were few and far between and Torquay were still not creating any chances. That said, they didn't need to having cashed in on an outrageous slice of luck. As this system of ours seems to do on a regular basis, it was drying up and becoming ineffective to a point of nausea and frustration. When we got the ball into the final third there just wasn't enough quality on the final ball into the box. The game was slipping away from us.

Indeed, for much of the second half we were unable to carve out a clear chance and Torquay were able to see out the game relatively comfortably. Their fans rejoiced as they set off home but there was still and overriding feeling from our contingent that we were hard done by. Throughout the night, the crowd seemed a little bit more 'up for it' than usual, but were left deflated by the final whistle. This was mirrored by the men in amber on the field too, many of whom cut disconsolate figures as they trudged from the field.

The future now looks pretty bleak. Our next three games see us take on Swindon, Cheltenham and Crawley, all of whom harbour hopes of promotion like Torquay. It seems at the moment as if we can't buy a win. Even playing well last night has failed to yield us not even a solitary point, let alone three. Even the staunchest, most biased of visiting supporters last night would have found it hard to deny us something out of that. I guess though that if you don't take your chances and the other lot do, then you don't deserve to win a game of football. That, I'm afraid, is the cruel nature of the thing.

It will be interesting to see how we bounce back from this. Will we be encouraged by the performance, or will we be demoralised owing to the fact that we put in such a showing but still didn't win? Next up is our toughest test as we play the best team in the league (by some distance). Who knows, we might pull a result out from somewhere that makes everything seem OK again, but until then we can once again fret about relegation and what dire consequences that would hold for this football club.

Here we go again...

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